By Catholic Review Staff
Loyola University Maryland, long a dominant athletic program in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, will leave the MAAC and join the Patriot League at the start of the 2013-14 academic and athletic year.
In the Patriot League, Loyola will join the likes of the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the College of the Holy Cross. The surprise announcement was made Aug. 29, in a news release from the university.
“It is an honor to join the Patriot League’s distinguished member institutions, all of which consistently demonstrate a profound commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the field,” said Jesuit Father Brian F. Linnane, Loylola’s president, in the statement.
“That commitment is one we share at Loyola, and we see this move as a vital opportunity to continue to elevate our already outstanding athletics programs in keeping with our goal of becoming the nation’s leading Catholic, comprehensive university.”
Besides Navy, West Point and Holy Cross, the other members of the Patriot League are American University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, Lafayette College and Lehigh University. Like Loyola, Boston University will join the league in 2013.
According to the Loyola news release, since 1998, the Patriot League has ranked first among all Division I conferences in student-athlete graduation rates in the NCAA Graduation Rates report. In the most recent report, Loyola had 11 teams with perfect graduation rates.
Currently, 16 Loyola teams compete in the MAAC, while men’s lacrosse plays in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and women’s lacrosse plays in the Big East. All of Loyola’s teams will make the conference move with the exception of men’s rowing. The Patriot League does not conduct a championship in the sport, but Loyola will continue to row a regionally competitive schedule.
Loyola is coming off a landmark athletic year, as men’s lacrosse won the NCAA championship and men’s basketball reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.
Copyright (c) Aug. 29, 2012 CatholicReview.org